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OutletPass
06-16-2003, 10:47 AM
ok..it's by Sam Smith, so that takes some credibility away...just though I'd post it for everyone's amusement.

Draft rumor mill cranks up

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June 15, 2003


So let's make a deal. It's coming to that time in the NBA with the June 26 draft approaching, though firm offers are hard to find.

Jerry West reportedly is still upset that his Memphis Grizzlies had to give up the No. 2 pick to the Detroit Pistons in that long-ago Otis Thorpe trade, and he is eager to make a major move with competition all around him improving. The Pistons, by the way, said last week they will definitely pick Serbia's Darko Milicic, so the top two picks are set: LeBron James will go No. 1 to Cleveland. Carmelo Anthony, who led Syracuse to the national title as a freshman, works out in Denver for the first time Monday. The Nuggets are listening to offers for the third pick but will probably take Anthony.











Teams drafting below the Nuggets are interested in trading. That's where West, long-daring trader, comes in. Memphis has the No. 13 pick in the first round, and West is trying to move up, apparently because he likes French guard Mickael Pietrus. Bulls general manager John Paxson, who has the seventh pick, goes to see Pietrus this week.

One Memphis possibility being talked about is a switch with the Miami Heat, which holds the No. 5 pick. Pat Riley doesn't want a rookie, and there is a long-discussed deal coming up again for 2001 No. 2 overall pick Stromile Swift, a shot-blocking power forward. But there's also been talk around the league the Grizzlies might be willing to part with Pau Gasol in a larger package.

Sources say Portland is trying to put together a package in which Gasol goes there or to Minnesota, if a third team gets involved, with perhaps a change of scenery for Rasheed Wallace or Zach Randolph.

Although the teams have yet to talk directly, there's another possibility that could throw the Dallas Mavericks right into the championship mix in the West.

The Mavs and Karl Malone have long had some mutual interest, though Dallas is hesitant because of Malone's age and the fact that his main role is that of a scorer. Dallas needs a tough, role-playing power forward, and the perfect choice may be Toronto's Antonio Davis.

The Raptors reportedly would love to be rid of the aging and often cranky Davis, who questioned living in Toronto, even before the SARS scare. The Raptors have the No. 4 overall pick and want a big man. But they aren't impressed with the crop, especially with questions growing about Central Michigan's Chris Kaman—scouts wonder if he could be as disappointing as Chris Mihm—and the inexperience of 7-5 Russian Pavel Podkolzine. The ideal fit may be Dallas' 6-foot-11-inch Raef LaFrentz. He doesn't work well in the Mavericks' frenzied, open attack. But he is a good shooter who should be more effective in the East's half-court game. Plus, he can help spread the court and create more room for Vince Carter, assuming Carter again cares to attack the basket. Dallas would have to throw in another player, perhaps Evan Eschmeyer, and cash.

The Kings also are looking for a big man, a young one to eventually replace Vlade Divac. So they could become an ideal trading partner with the Bulls. Hello, Hedo Turkoglu? One of the project big men, like Kaman or 7-5 Podkolzine, will be available when the Bulls pick at No. 7. Though Turkoglu isn't the ideal small forward, especially on defense, he's a good-shooting veteran who could contribute immediately. If the Bulls cannot find a better deal, he's a likely fall-back position.

Van Gundy's new job: There's been much talk that new Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy will try to bring in some former New York Knicks he coached, especially to spread his gospel in the locker room. Several young Rockets players have been calling friends around the NBA because of concern about Van Gundy's reputation as a control-oriented, slow-down coach. Said Van Gundy: "I had some guys with the Knicks that played a huge part in any sort of success that we may have had, so I'm going to try to bring some guys here that have been so good and so much a part of any success we had in New York. I'd like to bring them here."

Much speculation has centered on Latrell Sprewell, whom the Knicks long have tried to deal. But one of the reasons Van Gundy supposedly walked out on the Knicks two years ago was that Sprewell told him off and tuned him out. The Rockets have several big men they would like to deal, including Kelvin Cato and Maurice Taylor. It's likely Van Gundy will try to get Allan Houston and the Knicks could be enticed, especially with questions about Antonio McDyess. It could happen if the Rockets included Eddie Griffin, who played one year at Seton Hall in South Orange, N. J. They blew it: Lots of red faces around the NBA regarding the Spurs' Tony Parker, who lasted to 28th overall in the 2001 draft. Boston and Orlando both told Parker they would take him, but opted for Joe Forte and Jeryl Sasser, respectively.

"When Boston and Orlando told me they were going to pick me at 21 and 22, I figured I don't need to do a workout for a second-round team," said Parker, picked just after Indiana selected Jamaal Tinsley. "Boston and Orlando never drafted me because they said I was too skinny and no European point guard will make in the league."

Tough business, that draft. It's also why there will be more European players picked this year. Not because they're so good. Teams are afraid of making the Parker mistake again.

LeBron lookout: Do you get the feeling it's not going to be that easy for James? Nets forward Richard Jefferson was asked about the constant talk of the weak Eastern Conference during the Finals. "The West is still the strongest conference," Jefferson said. "That's never going to change, even if we're fortunate enough to win the series. The West is going to be stronger next year and the year after until LeBron James takes over in Cleveland and makes them an undefeated team."

Anthony's retort: Anthony is still saying he should be the No. 1 pick and says he and James have become good friends and have vowed to fight it out for rookie of the year.

"I talked to him while the lottery was going on," Anthony said. "I kind of knew Cleveland was going to get the No. 1 pick. I think they rigged it. No, don't quote me on that."

Meanwhile, Memphis' West said, "In my mind, there's a clear No. 2. Unfortunately, we won't find it out." The Nuggets said West means Anthony, who recenly measured 6-71/2 and 233 pounds for the NBA.

"With all the exposure that LeBron has gotten, he would have created more excitement in our market than Carmelo," Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke said. "But there's a lot of debate about whether Carmelo is really the better player. I don't know. But Jerry West is awful strong about him."

Stingy Celtics? New Celtics boss Danny Ainge already is tightening the money belt, and it could become epidemic around the NBA. It may well lead to some top free agents, like the Clippers' Michael Olowokandi, the Bucks' Gary Payton, the Jazz's Karl Malone, the Trail Blazers' Scottie Pippen and the Heat's Alonzo Mourning being offered only the $4.5 million salary-cap exception, or even less. It also puts the Bulls, one of perhaps a half-dozen teams that will probably spend their exception, in position to have a top player available to them.

"If I use the $4.5 million exception for this year, the bottom line is $17 million out-of-pocket money," Ainge said. His point is so many teams, like Boston, won't use the exception because it puts them into the luxury-tax penalty. That would mean paying a 100 percent tax on the salary and losing the distribution from the taxed teams.

The Bulls are well below the luxury-tax threshhold.

Draft talk: Illinois' Brian Cook continues to impress. The Celtics' Danny Ainge said Cook, whose father Norm was the Celtics' No. 1 pick in 1976, is "a great, great shooter for a big man."

The Bulls have the No. 53 overall pick, in the second round, from the Sean Lampley trade to Miami in 2001.

Both Kansas players, Nick Collison, who measured at 6-10 and 255 pounds, and point guard Kirk Hinrich, are said to be moving up in the draft.

Arizona's Luke Walton has worked out well around the league and could slip into the first round.

Also moving up is Georgetown's Mike Sweetney, measured at 6-8 and 262 pounds and likening himself to Elton Brand and Malik Rose.

Western Kentucky's Chris Marcus has been cleared to play and at 7-1 1/2 and 334 pounds with a 7-8 wingspan, the longest by far of anyone tested this year, he may be a good risk with a second-round pick.

Both Anthony and James have a longer wingspan than 7-footer Kaman.
Copyright © 2003, The Chicago Tribune

Mandyahl
06-16-2003, 11:23 AM
It's also why there will be more European players picked this year. Not because they're so good. Teams are afraid of making the Parker mistake again.
sad, but probably true.

jayC
06-16-2003, 04:50 PM
If I could get Davis just for lafrentz and esch oh in a heart beat. Davis's contract expires in three years. I wish we could ponder raef into kwame brown.

Drbio
06-16-2003, 04:57 PM
"I talked to him while the lottery was going on," Anthony said. "I kind of knew Cleveland was going to get the No. 1 pick. I think they rigged it. No, don't quote me on that."

Why does he quote him then? Smith is a jabroni.

David
06-16-2003, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by: jayC
If I could get Davis just for lafrentz and esch oh in a heart beat. Davis's contract expires in three years. I wish we could ponder raef into kwame brown.
Davis and Toronto's #4 pick for Raef, Esch and cash. I'd do that, if it was my call.

Ummmmm Ok
06-16-2003, 06:11 PM
[i]Originally posted by: David
Davis and Toronto's #4 pick for Raef, Esch and cash. I'd do that, if it was my call.

Yea but Toronto wouldn't!!!

Toronto might do a Davis/Alvin Williams/#4 pick for NVE/Raef/Cash.

madape
06-16-2003, 06:15 PM
Toronto has a bunch of really, really bad contracts. I don't think I'd want Antonio Davis, Alvin Williams or the Junk Yard Dog on this team, but if you're talking about the #4 pick in the draft, I might listen. I just might be willing to take on those albatrosses for a 7'5" athletic behemoth. Even if it means giving up on Raef.

Throw in another good low post prospect to sweeten the pot. Michael Bradley is a more than capable rebounder, shotblocker and low post scorer.

aexchange
06-16-2003, 06:17 PM
if we did have a chance to get the number 4 pick, no way i am drafting a stiff in pavel. its simply too high to not take as sure a thing as possible.

i'd definately target chris bosh. imagine a young garnett type player paired with dirk. its my dream come true.

edit for typo.

Mandyahl
06-16-2003, 09:17 PM
twould be cool to have bosh play in dallas, too

Tony tha Mavs fan
06-16-2003, 10:19 PM
I don't think Toronto would do that deal but if they were seriously considering it, i would jump all over that. you lose Raef's huge contract and bring some beef in the middle, and get a #4 pick .